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Air India flight returns to Delhi from Kabul with 129 passengers

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An Air India flight, AI-244, with 129 passengers from war-torn Afghanistan landed in New Delhi on Sunday evening. It was likely the last Kabul-Delhi Air India flight, at least for the time being, as flight operations in Afghanistan remain uncertain as the Taliban continues to take over more areas of the country, including capital Kabul.

The flight had earlier landed in Afghanistan from Delhi to evacuate Indians stuck in Afghanistan. The flight took off from Kabul at 6.06 pm and landed in Delhi before 8 pm. Earlier during the day, the flight had to delay landing by an hour as Kabul’s air traffic control (ATC) was unavailable.

Afghan President flees

Meanwhile, there are reports that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has escaped from the country. According to reports, he had left Kabul for Tajikistan. The President’s office, however, has refused to comment on the development saying that it cannot say anything about the president’s movement due to security reasons.

A representative of the Taliban said the group was checking on Ghani’s whereabouts. American diplomats were evacuated from their embassy by chopper after a swift advance by the Taliban, who were poised to run Afghanistan again 20 years after they were toppled by US-led forces following the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Peaceful transition

Power would be handed over to a transitional administration, the government’s acting interior minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakawal said. “There won’t be an attack on the city, it is agreed that there will be a peaceful handover,” he added without elaborating.

Earlier, the Taliban said in a statement that they have ordered all their forces not to enter Kabul and they want a “transition process”. The Taliban also now hold all of Afghanistan’s border crossings amid their offensive across the country. Now, Kabul airport is the only route out of the country.

According to the report, the Taliban had taken the Torkham border crossing that represented the last post still under Afghan government control, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told a local TV channel.

 

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